GUEST POST // Scars and Barbed Wire by Tony Mutton

I remember the history of my first scar,
You don’t forget bullying and barbed wire
Chased by a group of Catholic and non Catholic boys,
There was little difference between bullies in those days,
They all ran fast in the thrill of the hunt
Cornered at the base of a once insurmountable chain mail fence
Fear can make a young boy do extraordinary things
Climbing the 12 feet and flipping over the top
Barbed wire hung rusty on the other side of the fence
Careless workmanship an age old story
I remember the feeling as barb caught skin and
Still visualise the trail of bright red running down my leg
The run home was fast and bloody, my grey sock turning red
I tried to sneak in quietly through the back door
But an ever vigilant mother could not be outsmarted
I’m sure I lied, never telling her that I was being chased
Life was easier to live if the bullies felt you never told
Bullying is like racism, it’s not in your genes, it’s learned
What I want to know is what were the teachers teaching
Nothing good comes with a serving of barbed wire

by TONY MUTTON
© All rights reserved 2021

saoirse

at the beginning of time there was a girl
in a melamine bowl
she had no family, no friends
and was on the dole
she was sat there in a corn flake swirl
a milky, sugared doll
her belongings were mere odds and ends
oh, what a poor little soul!

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

at noonday’s predoom was a woman cold
in a gumball machine
for the merriment of boozers
in a stinky shebeen
she would shiver nude and candy bold
a pert and tart cuisine
a laughing stock even for losers
oh, buy her a tall glass of poteen!

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

at the end of all things there was a crone
in a bottle discarded
fighting her battles all over again
in weakness, unguarded
she inhaled a black wind through her bones
and all she’d once regarded
her last sigh was for the land of cockaigne
where life is ample tabled and lardered

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

the blacklight gaze

maybe i am nothing
or maybe i did happen once
but history was never my story
and paradise always belonged to you
maybe if i denied my need
maybe if i’ve not said too much
i might finally find my field of reeds
to walk in, perchance to breathe

fain don’t you light a candle for me
for tomorrow’s breeze would see me gone
so scorn me not for a child
i intend to bleed from open hands

maybe i am grateful
or maybe i’ll be the final smile
frozen between provident lines
where i’m never right and you’re never wrong
maybe i haven’t bled enough
maybe if i defied the need
in an ultraviolet field of reeds
to haze in, ergo to breathe

fain don’t you light a candle for me
for tomorrow’s breeze would see me gone
so scorn me not for a child
i intend to bleed over scorched sands

maybe my blood was fire
maybe i am guttering now
bleeding out blackened fields of need
to lay in, forgo to breathe
so maybe i am something
maybe i’ll not betide even once
everyone’s busy living and dying
least of all me

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

never wake

it feels like i’m falling away
like you don’t want me to care
then tell me, why am i here
tell me why i’m anywhere

all that i’ve held onto
i guess it doesn’t mean a damn
fain just let me disappear

the nothing i had, you burned it all
so at least let me be warmed a little while
gift me a last unbeholden smile
then tell me why, why won’t i die

all that i’ve clung onto
i guess it isn’t worth a damn
fain just let me disappear

it feels like you don’t want me to feel
i’m the face you’ve unseen behind the door
don’t tell me to dry my tears
don’t tell me anything at all

everything you said
was all i ever knew
everywhere i trod
was to keep pace with you
everything i felt
now everything imbued
i’ve never needed you more
to enslave myself to you

you’re the stone that weighs within me
beneath this binding arc of decay
lo, i am death, lo, i am sleep

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018